The Use of Knowledge in Natural Disaster Relief Management
To successfully coordinate natural disaster relief, society must solve Hayek’s “knowledge, problem” at three critical information nodes: (1) identification of disaster; (2) determination of what relief is needed and who needs which relief resources; and (3) evaluation of on-going relief efforts. This paper investigates the comparative ability of government and the private sector to do this. We find that government is inherently incapable of generating the information needed to solve the knowledge problem at any of these nodes. In contrast, the private sector is capable of solving the knowledge problem at each information node. The results of our analysis suggest that disaster relief reforms which leave government as the primary manager of natural disasters are bound to fail. Correcting government’s information failure in the context of disaster relief requires eliminating its root cause: government itself.
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- Russell Sobel & Peter Leeson, 2006. "Government's response to Hurricane Katrina: A public choice analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(1), pages 55-73, April.
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